Do you have a struggling reader? One of the best strategies to help turn these readers into successful readers is to find books that appeal to that child’s interests. Let’s face it, most Science Fiction and Fantasy is written for an older audience. Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and others (while great work) are geared towards children who are fine with sitting down to a 900 page book. That can be a problem when the child is a beginner reader or has other issues such as AD/HD. Today I will share some steampunk science fiction Books For Struggling Readers. These have an exciting plot line while being less challenging to read.
Books For Struggling Readers
I did a search for Science Fiction for Struggling Readers and came up with nothing but non-fiction. Joan Brennan has a dedicated blog post for this very topic. She had better luck than most and came up with about 5 books for struggling readers in both Science Fiction and Fantasy.
We simply have to do better for these kids. Mass media would have us believe that we have to produce encyclopedic works of fun Science Fiction not just for kids who can’t sit still but for those with flights of fancy in their veins. This simply isn’t true. We need to meet kids where they are in their reading skill levels and encourage their natural reading progression by allowing them to follow their interest. Series are also great for improving reading fluency as they tend to get a little longer and more challenging at the perfect rate for the reader.
A Steampunk Science Fiction Book Series Is Born
A local Nashville author, Leonardo Ramirez says, “I remember sitting in my favorite chair after having this very same discussion with my wife who is a librarian. She had mentioned that she has trouble finding good Science Fiction for kids who struggled not just with comprehension but suffered from a lacking interest in reading. After two hours of scribbling ideas down on proverbial paper, my 10-year-old daughter came down and simply said, “Daddy, why don’t you write a story about two kids who rescue their dad on another planet?” Now all of us were involved in the effort. Additionally, it wasn’t enough for me to create a setting in a genre that is popular at the time. I wanted something new and different. It had to be Steampunk.”
And indeed, he did end up writing a steampunk science fiction book series, The Jupiter Chronicles, which I ended up reading with my kids not long after I moved to Nashville.
What is Steampunk?
Steampunk is a sub-genre of Science Fiction where events during the industrial revolution were slightly altered. Electricity was never invented and everything runs on steam. Highly-advanced futuristic machinery such as steam-powered robots or flying machines are commonplace so you have a mixture of both past and future in one setting.
The Jupiter Chronicles: Steampunk Science Fiction
When I asked Ramirez to share about he starting writing his book series to begin with, he said, “I wrote The Jupiter Chronicles to help satisfy the need for short Science Fiction works that are good for beginner readers and struggling readers. After the book released it was then time to experiment. One of the fun tools we employed to get kids reading was Readers’ Theater at my wife’s school. They sure had a blast. We also talked about writing ideas down for a story and creating interesting characters. And yes, there were plenty of special effects. After I left, I learned that kids who normally aren’t interested in reading came in to the library begging for the book. The experiment worked. Kids with a low attention span have been reading The Jupiter Chronicles and wanting more. As an author, that’s all I can ask for.”
Visit Leonardoverse: Science Fiction for the Human Condition for more info.
My kids started with Steampunk fiction and moved onto Fantasy fiction. They read 1,000 page books for fun and have fabulous imaginations. It all starts with nurturing their interests in books when they are young.
What do you love about Science Fiction books?